Oh the Joys: A full anatomy scan shows a healthy, active baby!

Kelsey Bonilla Health Guide
  • Pregnancy Tracker: 20 weeks

    Size of the Baby: Could fit easily in a cupped hand

    Biggest Obstacle: The suspense of not knowing the baby's gender!


    A diabetic pregnancy is not all blood sugars, insulin doses, urine samples, and doctor's visits -- there are days of pure joy, like the one we experienced last Friday.


    At 9 in the morning, with my bladder full, my husband and I attended our full fetal anatomy scan appointment. Ultrasounds are amazing each time, but after having six already, I was a bit desensitized to what we were about to see.


    The full anatomy scan is just what it sounds like: the technician looked at everything! We got to see all the vertebrae in the spine, two rapidly kicking legs, the baby's head from every imaginable angle, and even distinct organs like the kidneys! As I lay there, holding my insulin pump in one hand, and my husband's knee in the other, I was in sheer amazement.

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    Our ultrasound technician, Tracy, was very helpful, pointing out what different body part were when they weren't easy to identify. Legs and feet were clear, while parts of the head and torso were difficult to make out. She looked carefully at each of the four chambers of the heart, which I just found miraculous. They tried to get clear pictures of the baby's arms, but he or she kept moving them too much! Our baby was very squirrelly during the entire procedure, which probably frustrated Tracy, but I loved that the baby was so active.


    I did not plan particularly well for the scan. I did a pump site change the evening before and put the site directly on my belly. Luckily the baby was off to the side a bit, but poor Tracy kept accidentally running the ultrasound wand over the pump site. It didn't hurt at all, but it definitely got in the way. Mental note: put your pump sites on your hips for the next full ultrasound.


    Once we settled in, my husband and I told Tracy that we did not want to know the baby's gender. We discussed the virtues of being surprised for a few minutes, and she assured us that she wouldn't spill the beans. When it came time for her to check out the baby's genitals, she had us look away. It's sort of odd that an ultrasound technician knows the gender of our baby, but we don't! While, we're excited to let it be a surprise, now that the information is available, there's definitely more suspense!


    Medically, one of the most important things we learned from this full scan is that the baby's heart looks perfect. When diabetes is poorly controlled during the first trimester, the heart is where the growing fetus would typically suffer complications. Since my A1c levels have been below 6 percent, and the ultrasound shows no deformities, the doctor feels confident that we don't need to do further diagnostic testing on the baby's heart.


    Also, they measured the baby to see how he or she is developing. This is important in diabetic pregnancies because a major complication is macrosomia, the medical term for having a large baby for its gestational age. On Friday, I was 19 weeks and 3 days pregnant, and our little one measured 19 weeks and 2 days! This is great news, though typically the baby doesn't get "large" until the third trimester, so I'm not in the clear yet.


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    All in all, the full anatomy scan provided not only important medical information about the baby, but also a wonderful chance for my husband and me to bond with our child. Modern medicine sure is incredible!

Published On: August 21, 2007